John (Intro): I have been on a quest to learn everything I can about leadership obsessed with what makes the best leaders so good. After running companies small and large for the last 20 years, today I speak on stages all across the world to audiences who are interested in that same question. My name is John Laurito and I'm your host. I invite you to join me on this journey as we explore this topic: What makes the best leaders so good? Welcome to Tomorrow’s Leader

John: All right, welcome to today's episode of Tomorrow's Leader, where we dive deep on all things leader related, related to leading yourself and leading other people. I'm John Laurito, your host here with a fantastic guest with a truly inspiring story, Jennifer Rodriguez, who is the owner of Think Holistic Fitness. Jennifer, welcome. 

Jennifer: Hi. Thank you for having me. 

John: Yeah, so you are in the backdrop of your business, which looks like a phenomenal gym and place that you can't help but become more healthy just by walking in there. Right. It's all you get to do. 

Jennifer: Well, we hope so. Yes. So this is where all the ladies work out. They come in and train, learn to lift heavy things. 

John: Awesome, great equipment there. And that's where all the action happens. Good stuff. Well, let's get into that. I want to talk about your business. You've got you know, you're a successful business owner. I love to have business owners that are having success, especially now during the pandemic, because you've definitely had to do some unique things. I want to get into that a lot, but I think it would be really great. I know your back story. The audience does, and I think it's an incredibly interesting and inspiring story. So you want to take us back a little bit to kind of where things started? 

Jennifer: So years ago, many years ago, more than 20 now that I think back, I was a professional flutist and I had a flute studio consistently of 60 students per week. And I was an adjunct faculty member at Queens College in New York. And I played professionally and I played for years. I started playing when I was six years old and it was my life and it's what I knew to do. And it fit my personality really well of being somewhat obsessive-compulsive. I like repetition. I like doing things consistently. But, you know, after a certain point, I was about 28 years old and about a month after my mom passed away, I got in a car accident up in Long Island and a car lost its rear axle. And it was like swiveling back and forth. And I thought the driver was drunk but he wasn't drunk. He had lost control because the axle fell off and he swung into me. And literally, I had my Jeep then drove like sideways like it was crazy. So I didn't think I was hurt so badly after that. But then about three weeks later, I was having a lot of numbness, tingling deadness down my arm. And I had herniated two discs in my neck and that just caused chronic pain for three years, I would say three years into that. 

John: So what did that do to your playing the flute?

Jennifer: I mean, I'm sure I'll never forget the day I knew I couldn't play the way I wanted to anymore. I was very good. I had a very good technique, finger technique. That was my signature claim to fame. And I remember demonstrating something for a client and then a student. And I remember I could not get the fingers on my left hand to keep up with the fingers on my right hand. And I was pretty devastated because it was something that was so natural for me and I couldn't do it anymore. And I remember saying to myself in my head, I didn't say it out loud at the time, but I said, OK, this is it. I'm putting my foot down because I didn't like that. I couldn't do what I used to do and I couldn't get an answer why. 

John: So you just couldn't get, you can play at that level and not you were that was not something you wanted to do if you couldn't play. 

Jennifer: Yeah. Well you know, you could if I couldn't play at that level I didn't want to play anymore. I look back on that now that was a bad attitude but I did want to play. 

John: Yeah. I mean I totally get it. You know, you're it sounds like your whole life was that you're at such a high level and I know a lot of people like that, whether it's athletes or people in the business that have specialty or talents or whatnot when you feel yourself not being able to get back up there. Did the passion go away a little bit of the enjoyment or was it just a matter? 

Jennifer: Yes. Yeah, it was interesting, though. It went away and I didn't want to because I couldn't do what was my thing. My thing was being super technical and playing really fast. That was my thing. I couldn't do that anymore and I couldn't manage to fix myself. I went to chiropractors for acupuncture. I did everything. And then shortly after that, my daughter's father and I, we were married. We moved down here to North Carolina and I was still having pain. I lived in Goldsboro and I remember going for an X-ray on my neck and my neck was completely straight. Like you should have a curvature in your neck. And it was completely straight and one vertebra was buckled over another and the pain was just constant. And I felt like I had like a snake around my neck. Wow. So, you know, after they wanted to put me on painkillers and I didn't want to do anything like that, that I didn't mind taking an occasional muscle relaxer. But I don't like having to rely on medication to that degree. So somehow some which way after we moved, we moved up here to the Holly Springs area. I found somebody that understood how to do trigger point injections. And after the trigger point injection, I was able to start weight training myself literally out of pain. 

Jennifer: So there was a period of time that I was like, OK, this combination is working. And because of the pain, I had so many atrophied muscles in my back. OK, so the more atrophy the muscles became, the more your body goes into pain. So the more the muscle atrophies, the more your body compensates, the more it compensates, the more you go into this very 

poor compensatory mechanism. And that was my pattern for years. I didn't know it. Nobody can explain it to me. But once I could look back now and see what had happened, I was literally like kind of reengineering. Where I was supposed to go is giving rehab to myself without really understanding. But then once it started getting better and then I would do different things, I would do some neck traction. I would do some chiropractic that worked a little bit, but really what it was, was just getting stronger, you know, getting the right muscles to be stronger. And at that point, I was like, OK, maybe there's more I need to know about this. And that's when I started educating myself more and going back to school.

John: And was that the first time you got into working out? 

Jennifer: I always did work out, but not to the degree where I was like, OK, this muscle clearly feels better when I do this. Not so thought thoughtfully. Yeah, I had a background in the Alexander Technique, which is for musicians. We use that a lot, but it's really getting in tune with muscles. So I was able to kind of use some of that to kind of help myself a bit, you know. And then I started studying postural restoration, OK, which is pretty. It was not known back then, but it's really kind of learning different ways to get your body to come back into a zone of apposition. So that was something new years ago. Now it's kind of new. People are like, oh, well, you know, postural restoration's that's cutting edge. 

Jennifer: But to me, it's like was knowledge from years ago because it was one of the things that helped me. Yeah. So I studied that some more and it just kind of evolved. And I remember I worked at the Y, I was working at the Y, you know, upstairs on their wellness floor is a part-time job at the time. And somebody asked me like, oh, you were trained. And it wasn't the thing for women to weight train. It was like 12 years ago, you know, it wasn't the thing. And I was like, yeah, I train. They're like, oh, we're looking for a female trainer. So I worked there for a while teaching women to get off the cardio equipment and get off the treadmills and get out of nothing against group fitness, but come in and live some real weights. So yeah, and that's kind of how the whole thing started. And I didn't expect it to be something. I didn't totally expect it to be something until unfortunately, my marriage ended. And I was my daughter was about five and I was like, oh, I was like, OK, well this didn't go as planned. This wasn't the plan. But here it is now. And that was a pivotal time in my life. Yeah. That really made me look at things and say, like, OK, you know, I have to, you know, be much more for my daughter. Now, life is very different. 

John: Did it immediately come to you that, hey, you know what, my future and what I want to do is, is in health and fitness. Did you find that? Were you still searching at that point where you think about getting back into play the flute? 

Jennifer: No, I wasn't I wouldn't get back into playing the flute, because when you work at something that hard for such a long time, you know the amount of time it takes to put into something to become such a high level. And I was like, I can never make up for that lost time. But the thing I thought about for a long time, I was like, what did I like so much about, you know, music? Was it music? And I realized at the time it wasn't necessarily music. It was helping people. Like I loved seeing my students get from one point to another. I had students that got into Juilliard, pre-college programs, and just seeing them take off and seeing them find this like sense of worth about themselves and a sense of pride. That's what I loved. So once I started figuring that out, like it took a lot of thinking about my thinking about things, I really had to go back and understand myself at a different point. So I would say the first two years after my divorce, I did a lot of soul searching and I was working at the Y then full time and, you know, and I started connecting the dots be like, what is it that makes me tick? 

Jennifer: Like, what do I like? And what inspires me to want to do more and do better. And because you need that in life, you need that in your job. You don't want to feel stale. You want to feel like, oh my gosh, this is the next thing you know, this is where I can go next with this. So that's where I found that common denominator. And that's where I started putting more and more time in education and schooling. I actually started going back to school to

get a degree in dietetics. And I did a couple of rotations. I had an internship and one of them was in a nursing home. And I was like, this is not what I wanted to do. So I was trying to like, be like, is it this or is it that? Like, I was like a regrowth. Yeah. 

John: So, yeah, I know a lot of people that have gone through kind of that period of time where you're searching, you're trying to understand yourself. You're trying to figure out what your next chapter of life looks like, how that's a really great way to think about it, though. What are you about what are you passionate about? Because I think people they're drawn more to trying to answer the question of money. What can I do that's going to keep me afloat or make me successful and earn a lot of money and they're going in a direction, the wrong direction, for the wrong reasons versus what you started with was, OK, what am I all about? What makes me.?Yeah. What am I passionate about? Right. 

Jennifer: Yeah. The money was important, but I knew that I never had a problem when I taught flute students. I never had a problem getting students, you know, or other people like how could you have so many students? And I was like, I don't have a lot of students, you know, but part of it was I really enjoyed it. I made it fun for people. I liked it. It was enjoyable. I made them do things they couldn't do before. Word of mouth gets around and I had a good time. So it was something that I enjoy doing. So like attracts like and that energy attracts each other. So, you know, and the same thing happened at the Y, you know, so I had a lot of people that, you know, got to know me and got to know how I would relate to people and how I would do things. And especially for women, women when men were super scared of the weight section back then. Now not so much. I mean, some women still, you know, but it's more especially for younger kids, you see, it's more for girls to go into a weight section. But, you know, back 12, 15 years ago, it was not like that. It was not like that at all. So taking a woman in there and getting them to feel this new way about themselves was so inspiring. 

John: Yeah, well, for a lot of people, just getting into a gym to do anything is major. Stepping outside their comfort zone for others. They're in a gym and like you said, maybe just not in the right section of the gym. Yeah. How about that person, though? That really either has never done it before because I'm imagining a lot of your clients that you work with. They're just starting working out. They're just starting on a path to get into better shape. What do you, how do you encourage somebody like that? 

Jennifer: The person I love training, people who hate working out. I love that person, I love the person who has injuries because I had the injuries. You know, I love people who, like, are so uncomfortable in the gym. Like I that's my ideal person to work with. The person is so uncomfortable in a gym. This environment here, it's very private. So they can feel more like themselves. They're not exposed to everybody watching them. 

Jennifer: They can learn from the very beginning, you know, getting those people to have a different experience the very first time where they don't feel shame, they don't feel embarrassed, they don't feel awkward, they don't feel uncomfortable. It changes their perspective. Then they have a new, you know, a new view on it. And they're like, this isn't what I thought it would be, or people who have done things before. And they would tell me they're like, I've never done something for this long before. So getting them to be in a place that they feel, you know, OK, they feel comfortable is hugely important.

John: Yeah, yeah. What are the ones that the people that you've worked with, the clients that really do the best and make the best improvements or accomplishments or reach their goals, what's different about them? Because you're working with a lot of different types of people. I know that have a lot of different, you know, natural tendencies or habits or mindsets. What goes into that person that typically really sticks to it and actually, you know, ultimately changes their life? 

Jennifer: Yeah, they do life better. They can learn to do life better, they learn to not get thrown off their game so easily, or when they start to recognize that it's not the workout that's the problem. It's not the diet that's the problem. It's not this that my hormones it's not those things. I mean, granted, some of those things can play a factor. But once they learn that they may have boundary problems, they let their family comes first. Family should come first, but so are ourselves. Like we have to put some part of ourselves first as well. When they start to realize that, like, oh, you know, I have a problem with commitment. I have a problem with, you know, working through tough times. I have a problem with when life gets overwhelming. I let everything go. I'm a black and white thinker, you know. So you have a lot of personalities that have to overcome those root problems rather than just thinking it's the workout. That's the problem. It really isn't. It's how life goes on around us. So the people that do the best are the people that have figured out how to do life. Well, yeah. Those are the people three points. 

John: So it's not just your life in the gym. It's all of your habits. And it's really thinking about it because I know a lot of people like that, you know, they're so focused and it comes from a great place. They're focused on other people. They're focused on making other people happy or they have a tough time saying no. Yeah, constantly being pulled in different directions. And ultimately, they're really sacrificing their own happiness and their own well-being because they're so focused on everybody around them. When what you're saying is it's really got to start when you have focused on yourself and not even a selfish way, but in a smart way, then you ultimately are a better influencer of other people, right? 

Jennifer: Yeah. You're better for other people. You're better for other people. You know, some people, they come in and they have I can spot an adult child of an alcoholic in a room of fifty people. So when that woman comes in, I'm like, I'll ask the question like anybody in your family, ever an alcoholic. And they're like, oh yeah, you know, my such and such, they have a way of thinking, you know, they have a way of, you know, perception of what's going on around them. The things that really stress them out are unique things. I can pick that person out and I know them very well because I was one. So I know that person. And it's their self-talk, the things that they tell themselves and getting them to see that these things do not have to be such and such. Then you get people who live life on the pendulum. They're one extreme and then the other extreme. They're back. Therefore they're on. They're off, you know, getting them to learn to live in the center a little bit, you know, and this we talk about a lot of these things while training. So training I describe to them, I said training is like something is like a root, like something that grounds you. It's a ritual, something you do consistently around your ritual. You build your habits and your character and your principles, you know, so weight training for them becomes ritualistic. And from there then it's something that's grounding something they can count on, something they progress. But meanwhile, outside of that, we're working on all these other things that contribute to the

reasons why they fail because they don't just fail with their diet and nutrition. It's in other areas of life, too, and they carry over. 

John: Right. It's interesting. You have success in this area. And it definitely and I saw it myself. We were talking earlier and I'd like to actually get your comments on this. But, you know, I dealt with major anxiety, panic attacks for twenty plus years. And I found working out was a big part of me getting over that. And it gave me confidence. So I think about I just wanted to you know when I started back as a teenager, I just want to look better. I want bigger arms, bigger muscles. But I didn't have any idea the impact it would have on my life and how many other areas of my life and really all of them that are directly or indirectly affected. What are your thoughts on that? I mean, in particular, anxiety, because I know that's something that so many people struggle with. 

Jennifer: Yeah, so many people struggle with it. I struggle with it. I've gotten better with it over time. You know, I was in seven years of a program which helped me a lot. So that helped me kind of navigate life a little bit better. But anxiety can be crippling. Like there were times I would have anxiety for like three days. And then it was like years ago when I didn't understand my anxiety and it would derail me for days. And you couldn't get progress done. You couldn't get anything done. I mean, it can set people back pretty bad. I would be like, don't you see the sky is falling and everybody's like, it's OK, everything's OK. But, you know, like, really the. The sky is falling, it's totally falling, and they're like, no, it'll be OK. I'm like, you're crazy. Like, this is really bad. 

Jennifer: That's how it felt to somebody having panic and anxiety and the other person sitting there telling you it's going to be fine. And you're like, no, this is it. Can't you feel how bad this is right now? It's such a terrible feeling. Now, if I get anxiety and like I know it's happening, I know everything else around me is OK. I feel this is really bad right now. I feel this is really bad, but I can still take care of myself. And that's what I talk to clients about. Like even though we feel bad. And these feelings, feelings are not facts. Always we have these feelings. We don't have to let go of our things that are our rituals and our habits which ground us OK, which center us. But anxiety can be horrendous. And for people that struggle with and sometimes they don't even realize that's the root cause of what's going on with so much of what they're dealing with. But when they finally come to terms with it and they get better tools, it's like life-changing. 

John: Well, wouldn't be that first step? I mean, for somebody who's listening, that's dealing with it. And that is a great way and a different perspective. OK, it's you know, it's almost the level of self-awareness, like, OK, hey, and here this is not anything's as bad as I'm thinking it is, but you're on the other side of it. You've gone through it. How what was that first step or first couple of steps? 

Jennifer: How do you start getting there for me? Whenever I would get into that anxious mode, I would listen to the antithesis of the fear I was having. So I would seek out something that I'm like, OK, I'm feeling this like I'm feeling like one of the big things like here starting the studio is like, how can I do this? Like, I have rent now to pay. I have this to pay. I have overhead. I have all this. I'm like, oh my gosh, I have to, like, boost my revenue. And I was so fearful that I would fail. So I'd have to listen to something else about how people succeeded and what does success look like and what does my mind have to be like when I

succeed and what are the thoughts that I have to have? So I literally had to listen to somebody else's thoughts because mine were too damaging. And I know then I started to recognize them like this is not the time to listen to me. This is the time to listen to wiser words. Yeah. So I would plug myself in and I think I literally like neuroplasticity. I think I reprogramed my brain over the years, you know, so I would plug myself into the opposite of whatever it was that I was struggling with. 

John: That's fascinating. And I agree. One hundred percent. Everybody has self-talk. They talk to themselves. It's most of the time it's negative for most people out there. And the first step is being self-aware. And I love your approach. You know, the idea is that you can change your own self-talk, but sometimes not in a position to be able to do that and listening and getting it from somewhere else, you know, and starting almost to envision the other side of that of, OK, well, what happens if this really takes off and I'm making I'm too busy and I'm making too much money and, you know, you start to fill your head almost with the other side of that spectrum there. And that's pretty cool. And it does. It works extremely well. 

Jennifer: Yeah, it does. It does. And I'm a small gold builder. I'm like an attainable goal builder. Like some people are like, you know, oh my gosh, I'm going to be a multimillionaire by such and such and whatever. I'm like, no, I'm like, I got to see that next goal. I'm like, OK, I'm going to hit this number of revenue that month and I'm going to hit this number. Then I'm going to hit this number. And that was more attainable for me to see. So I do that with everything. Like any little. I have to have attainable steps. So I set those goals because of everything's progress. Like people will be like, oh my gosh, I'm not losing weight. I'm not making any of this in that. I'm like, remember three months ago you were binge eating? Remember that? You still binge eating? Oh, no, I'm not doing that. I'm like, that's progress. Like, yeah, the scale may not drop twenty-five pounds, OK, but you have to make those little small steps happen before you get to those big wins. And I think people look for the big win and they already talked themselves out of it that they failed. You know, if they don't see that big win. Yeah. So they have to see those little like such little things, such little things are progress. And every little thing you have to look for is progress heading in the right direction. That's a good point. 

John: You know, I talked to people and this goes for health as well as business and leaders that I talk to, that oftentimes we get misled in our mind because we're taking the wrong result to our result is reinforcing the wrong action or behavior. So, for example, somebody might step on, you know, I might eat two or three cheeseburgers today and I might actually step on the scale tomorrow morning and have maintained my weight or even drop the pound. Yeah. Which gets me thinking, OK, well, maybe my body's just wired differently and I can actually handle eating the cheeseburger too, every single day. So on the other side, hey, I ate so healthy today or yesterday over the last couple of days I didn't drop any weight. So obviously it doesn't work. You know, people's mind plays games with them. Right. 

Jennifer: And the scale messes with people. I do. I literally it's funny, I coached people through stepping on that scale daily and work on what their feedback mentally is. Yeah. Yeah. Because they mess with themselves every time they step on that scale. So then what do they do? They don't step on the scale and then when they step on it they're like where that twenty pounds come from? I'm like, you should have been stepping on the scale. Don't you check your bank account at least weekly? I check my daily but I'm a little anal.

John: Yeah, I'm one of the steps on the scale every day. So that might not be good, but it might be too much. But the point is that you know, it's all it's not a surprise if you do the activities and you get in the right behaviors and rituals as you're talking about. Yeah. Then over the long term, you're going to see results. Yeah, that's what you said about the progress. It's not a lot of times people get caught up mentally in the difference between where they are now and where they ideally want to be. And sometimes that can be really demotivating versus and frustrating versus looking at, hey, here's where I was a month ago or two months ago and here's how I've progressed, and here's what I should be proud of. And, you know. Yes, be happy with that, right? 

Jennifer: Yeah. I mean, to look for those little wins, because once you get like you lose all the weight, then what? You know, like so you reached your goal then what? In a lot of people, I like seeing them, you know, they have no goal in their head or whatever. And, you know, I just am like, OK, you want to lose 20 pounds. But who they are at the beginning and who they are at the end, when they do it well and they do it successfully, are two different people. When someone really, truly, authentically loses the weight and transforms and it's genuine, that person never goes back to the person that they were, the person that forces it off and just focuses on forcing it off or forcing it through, they always regress. 

John: Yeah, that's interesting. That's good. You see a lot of people go up and down and wait or they. Yeah, yeah. OK. 

John: Yeah, because there are certain foundations that they never really got, you know, and it's so reflective in their personal development. So I could see personal development being directly correlated to people's success in weight training or whatever it may be, or losing weight or jobs or businesses. It really does come down to that personal development factor. 

John: Yeah, definitely. Well, I want to and it's interesting, I could talk to you about working out in health and fitness for hours because I'm obsessed with it myself. But I love to talk about your business because you did a great job. You know, there are so many business owners that are listening to this and leaders in general that we're in a tough time. You know, we've been through now at the end of 2020, nine months of the pandemic. And it has really put the ultimate stress on people and businesses from every aspect of life. I mean, from health and finances and relationships and businesses. You know some it's meant the breaking point of either surviving or in some cases pivoting and thriving. And you've really done what sounds like a great job of pivoting. And I'd love to have you here kind of tell us about when the pandemic hit. What were you thinking? What were you doing? What were you feeling? 

John: I remember saying to Aaron, who works with me next door, I'm like, what are we going to do with this COVID thing? And she's like, I'm not worried. I'm like, no, you should be worried, like and she's like, nope, not worried it's going to take two weeks and then it's going to come and go. And I was like, I don't think so. So when they finally said, OK, that's it, they shut everything down, I was just like, oh, my God. 

Jennifer: Like, I just felt like having somebody tell me I can't do my business was extremely hard for me to accept. And it wasn't that I didn't believe it was real or this or that, but someone telling me you have to close your doors, you can't operate. I'm like, this is my business. Like, how can you tell me not to do that? I never work so hard in those first two

and a half days. I think I might have slept five hours a night. And I put my whole program online so quickly and I set up Zoom. I never used them before covid I set up everything. I set up my studio like I have a whole behind me here. I have a whole big television set that's hooked to my computer that I can see so I can see clients and pretty life-size up on the screen. And I kept my schedule in the studio exactly the same for clients, except they were at home. Nothing changed. They were home. I think I made I don't even know how many piles of workouts. In fact, I have them here, all these piles of workouts that are stuff that they do at home and that first couple. So, I said we're not missing. I took all my weights. I gave all my weights out to my clients. I said, take them home. I said I expect to see you tomorrow. I said, when life hits you, you have to keep your routine. 

JJennifer: So that was pretty much the message the whole time. Like, even though life is changing, you have to have something that stays consistent no matter what. And if you're really committed to a goal, you do it anyway. You don't do it because it's convenient. You don't do it because it's nice. You don't do it because you're going to meet your friends there. 

You know you don't do it. You do it because it's a discipline and it's something you've disciplined yourself to do no matter what. And if you don't have the ideal equipment, then you do something else. Yeah. So that was pretty much the attitude that we had. But my gym was empty and most of my equipment was gone and my clients took a lot of it home and some of them had stuff and we continued on for a while until it was able. And then I really didn't have, like any major drop in revenue or I was very lucky. 

John: Well, that's an incredible accomplishment for your business and congratulations. I mean, that says a lot about you. It says a lot also about your business and the relationship you have with your clients and just the fact that you gave your clients your weights. That to me is amazing. Like, you know, I don't know how many, if any, gym owners that did that because you couldn't find. 

John: That's good. I was not around any. I would have loved to get to. I was in Boston at that time and I'm like, I didn't have a home gym. The gyms were closed. I mean, I was miserable for a few months. I'm like for somebody who's used to working out a lot, you take that away and you at least can't do workouts that you like to do. But the the the interesting thing, you know, the pandemic was this massive change. Now, some people looked at it as like the person you're speaking of is, OK, this will just blow over in a couple of weeks. But I think a lot of businesses and business owners got caught up in the fact of, OK, let me just sit and wait and let this thing go by, which there are some things I think that makes sense. But in this case, this is a massive change. It's uncontrollable. It's a massive change, which really requires what you did. And that's a massive activity or action. A massive response to your massive response was to change your whole business model and be able to deliver it virtually in a matter of forty-eight hours, which is tremendous. But most people don't think like that. Right. I mean, does that unique do you think, is that how you know, what do you. 

Jennifer: I know people were scrambling to do it. I know that people got it up and got it going. You know, they did it, you know, there ways that they did it. But, you know, I kept my groups online. I mean, I had the same amount of training hours on Zoom that I did in the studio. So in other words, they still had small groups, you know, four or five people at a time. And then I even had, you know, some people that I would call my clients. I'd be like, you didn't say like I don't know how to use Zoom. I said, well, set up a time. I'll walk you through

the whole thing. I'll help you set it up on your computer. Will go through one on one. I'll help you set up your room in your house like we did that via Zoom. So I did that for about twenty clients, like people who have never used Zoom before, who were like sixty-eight years old, 

never did anything like that. I'm like, this is how you're going to open up Zoom. Ready. Here we go. I did that. I can help people through it. So they didn't have an excuse, you know, to not. 

John: So let me ask you, let's talk about leadership itself. Because I look at leadership as any time you're influencing somebody to do something that they wouldn't have done or think a different way, then they wouldn't have without you, then that's leadership. And sometimes it's positive, sometimes it's negative and it's leading other people. It's leading yourself. What do you think? What is great leadership? I mean, what are the best leaders? What kind of characteristics do they have? What does it really take to influence somebody in a great positive way, in the right direction? 

Jennifer: I mean, I think people that I've looked up to in the past, well, I think they talk to you in a way that makes you excited about your own self. And they make you excited about taking that next step up instead of feeling like it's a should or it's a must, so to try to inspire something from within to make them want to do such and such, and even though I may want somebody to count their macros. Right. And be super strict about that, but even just getting somebody to have a protein shake between two and five p.m. to prevent a drop in serotonin and sugar cravings, that comes so they don't derail the rest of their day getting them to see that, OK, this little change made me better. Yes, I could do this. Yes, I could do that. Getting somebody to see that they can do something that wasn't what they thought they could do. And then it becomes a snowball effect. So that's one for a leader, another for a leader is being genuine. You know, my clients know all my struggles. They know, you know, when my father died on August 14th, I mean, they saw some of my worst times, you know, and they saw times like these past three months. 

Jennifer: Covid was nothing compared to these last three months, like getting through covid, I think was preparation for me to deal with this next challenge, you know, and they really just like, oh, my gosh, Jennifer, like, I don't even know how you're still standing after all of this and talking about compartmentalizing, you know, like, yes, I have life happening over here, but life doesn't have to happen to me. It could be happening all over there, OK? And teaching them that they don't have to internalize every single thing, you know, they can still do self-care. They can still meet certain goals. They can decide to maintain. They may not make progress, but they can make a decision to maintain and not let life just swing them here and there. You know, so I think those are attributes of great leaders and also people who walk the walk and talk the talk like I'm not going to tell you to not eat sugar and go stuff myself with sugar. Like, I'm not going to do that. I'm pretty honest about it. I'm pretty honest when I do stuff sugar in my face, you know, I'll tell them you're like, oh my gosh, I was so stressed out. And all of a sudden I bought this box of milk and eggs and half the thing was gone between here and down the road in Holly Springs Road, you know, and clearly, I was not in my right mind, you know, so talking about these things with them and letting them know that we're all human, you know, I said, oh, that's perfect. 

John: So it was so perfectly set because I think, you know, the days of the leader being the I have all the answers and I know everything and I'm perfect in this and that. I mean, that just

doesn't fly. I mean, people are so on to that type of person. They want somebody who is real. They want to follow somebody who's, you know, who really is human, who's like them and but figured out how to overcome some of the bad tendencies or figured out how to make better decisions or figured out how to do things a little different that gives a better result. And that's better and easier for somebody to relate to and follow. Like what you're talking about though. 

Jennifer: Yeah. Yeah. And then even when I herniated my back. How do you do it? Acute injury but yeah I'm screwed up like I can't work out but what I can do is this. So I'm not going to just like take this as a sabbatical for four weeks, you know, you work on what you can do so and keep moving forward in some way, shape, or form instead of just throwing in the towel. 

John: Yeah. So what's your vision with the business with think a holistic fitness? 

Jennifer: Well, I go back, I start graduate school on January 4th, so I go back for clinical mental health counseling, I always saw this since it is holistic. It's not that I don't believe in medicine, I totally do. And I have a good network of people that I work with. Doctors are in physical therapy. I have good mental health therapists that I work with, good psychiatric nurse practitioners I refer people to. I see this becoming more of like a one-stop-shop, which a lot of people say it is, and bringing it that way for the person and then online eventually creating because, you know, there's a lot of disordered eating out there, not necessarily eating disorders, but disordered eating. A lot of people struggle with types of ways of eating that are unhealthy, you know, so that's one of the reasons why I went into getting this degree. And to broaden that a lot more and hopefully bring that more into some online digital products, you know, so I can reach some more people. That's great. 

John: So people don't have to be, they can be anywhere and still plug into what you're doing. 

Jennifer: Yeah. Yeah. So that will go forward. So I'm just excited to go back to school. I think if I could be a perpetual student, I would be. But it's not real life, so that's good. 

John: So if people want more information, they want to learn about you, they want to learn about things, holistic fitness. How do they get a hold of you? 

Jennifer: They can just go to a www.thinkholisticfitness.com. I always have new promotions up there. I'll be talking about soon the digital product that I'm going to be coming out with, which is how to fix a broken diet because a lot of people, know it's broken and they just keep breaking it more. I'm like, well, you're doing more of the broken part, so we have to go back to the other way. So how to fix a broken diet? So that's going to be a digital product in the next probably a couple of weeks. And so that'll be out. And then but yeah, I always have promotions up on my first page, the home page up there. So things that are going on. So yeah. So they can go there and take a look. 

John: Excellent. So let me ask you when people ask you what you do, what do you tell them? 

Jennifer: What do you mean?

John: Well, what do I do? So when they say, what do you do? Because you impact people in a lot of different ways, I mean, what is your answer to that question? 

Jennifer: I feel like I basically just say I help women live a life that they feel much better about. Yeah, that's pretty much so. They fix we fix a lot of different things. There's a lot that goes into that. But, you know, women here, I mean, there are women who come in and they're 60 years old, as one of our clients is 72. And she is amazing. Like, she is just an amazing human being. And she started training when she was 67. It's never too late. You're never too old. You're never too old to start anything. And things can always get better. Things don't have to get worse. That's what I tell people. You know, you can turn anything around at any time that you want, you know. And Beverly, everybody talks about Beverly like she's I just love her. She's my seventy two year old who deadlifts one hundred and thirty-five pounds. Like she's awesome. Like nothing stops that woman, nothing at all. And she found a new version of Beverly, you know. And I love that. I love to uncover that in people. 

John: Well, that's awesome. And it sounds like a pretty cool community among the women there. 

Jennifer: Yeah. Yeah, yeah. We have a great community. Everybody likes each other. We don't do women. Cárdenas like that does not exist here. It's not even tolerated. Yeah. So yeah. So we, we have a great community of people and we have like 150-160. So yeah that's terrific. And they're all able to, to communicate with each other and they're there. It's that kind of feeling of it is a community. They're not doing it by themselves. It's totally a community. And if somebody is missing where so-and-so did you text. I'm going to text so-and-so. Where is she? And they yeah, they reach out to each other. So yeah they built a nice little connection. Yeah. 

John: Oh yeah. Yeah, yeah. It's kind of cool. Well, this has been fantastic. I'd love to talk to you for more. I know we're at the end of our time here. What last words of wisdom do you want to leave with the audience here today? You've shared so much already. But now what would you leave them with? 

Jennifer: I would say don't wait for the perfect time. It's never too late, start yesterday. Don't wait until Monday. Stop that nonsense. And yeah, just take the first step. Awesome. Yeah, that's what I would say. And I would say this is an Elhanan phrase. Keep coming back. It works. If you work. It works. 

John: You work it. I like it. All right. Well, we are going to put all your information in the show notes that people have an easy way to get a hold of you. And this has been really, really great. Congrats on all the stuff that you've done and what you've done. Thank you. And even more so how you're helping people get to what they're where they were trying to get to and do things that they never would've been able to do without your help. So congrats on all that. So, yeah, thanks. Yeah. We've been here with Jennifer Rodriguez, owner of Think Holistic Fitness. We appreciate you greatly being here, Jennifer, and we appreciate it. Thank you. You're welcome. We appreciate all of you for listening and tuning in. There's been another episode of tomorrow's leader. Keep liking, sharing, subscribing, all that kind of good stuff. Add comments, suggestions go down below. Review five stars. Of course, I'm always interested in your comments and thoughts. Appreciate your joining us today. Thanks, everybody. Have a good one.

John (Closing): Thanks for joining us on today’s episode of Tomorrow’s Leader. For suggestions, or inquiries, about having me at your next event, or personal coaching, reach me at john@lauritogroup.com Once again, that’s john@lauritogroup.com. Thanks! Lead on!

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